Search tips when using the Internet

Friday, June 5, 2015

Searching the Internet can be a frustrating experience when you are trying to find a missing ancestor! One website,, organizes the available vital records information for you.

While VitalRec does not link you directly to those records, the company has compiled every state, county and town with records on line and you can pick, say, Nebraska, and it will provide you that website, plus information on exactly how to obtain vital records such as birth certificates for each link. If you have ever tried to search for where a record exists in each state, you know what a valuable tool VitalRec could be. This is a free service.

CensusFinder is another free service that provides information on available census sheets from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. When I went to the website,, it not only had those three listings, but also links for Native American, Norway, and Swedish records.

Please understand, these sites can only offer the free services because a whole bunch of "for Pay" sites advertise on their pages. It can be a bit confusing when you have all these pop ups trying to get you to go to their site.

Next, let's say that you are searching for a great grandmother, whose name was spelled several different ways, i.e., Theodocia Luella Coady. To narrow that search and look for only certain variations, enter: "Theodocia Luella Coady" --coates --cody --"Buffalo Bill." What you are doing is eliminating any entry that has the name spelled coates or cody, plus any entry that has the phrase Buffalo Bill in it. Believe me if you had the name Coady in your family and you knew you weren't related to Buffalo Bill, you want to eliminate every reference to him when you are searching on the internet.

Now if you want to broaden that search instead you can join the variations with OR. To do so, put your phrases (anything that is two words or more), in quotation marks such as this: "Theodocia Luella Coady" or "Ocie Coady". Single words don't need the quotations. That search will give you anything with either of those phrases in it and you can enter several phrases and words linked together with OR.

To follow that through to its logical conclusion, combine the two methods: "Theodocia Luella Coady" or "Ocie Coady" -- "Buffalo Bill." That will give results with either of the first two phrases but not any reference to Buffalo Bill. Again, you can do that with single words: coady or cody or cotes -- buffalo.

Thanks, Patsy Redfern, for knowing the rest of the story concerning James Gammill and World War II's infamous Pearl Harbor. What is even more intriguing was the fact that my uncle, Ernest Davison, who grew up in Dalton, Nebraska, also served aboard the USS Oklahoma that day. He was trapped in the sunken ship for nearly a day before being cut free. Small world, isn't it?

I wish that someone would let me know if Major Zurick came home from the war. He was the brother of Mrs. Ted Barnes and Mrs. Herman Budig that was serving in the Philippines when the Japanese overran the island.

Southwest Nebraska Genealogy Society has its monthly meeting this Saturday, June 6, 1 p.m. 110 West First, Suite M-3. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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